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Lawmakers push back on threat to biofuels, farm economy

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Following reports that the Biden Administration is considering reducing biofuel blending obligations to appease oil refiners, 16 members of Congress sent a letter to Michael Regan, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Brian Deese, Director of the National Economic Council, urging the administration to reject granting handouts to the oil industry.

The 16 lawmakers stated in the letter, “As your Administration continues to push for meaningful and rapid climate action, biofuels can and should play an important role in decarbonizing vehicle emissions. Recent studies demonstrate that using ethanol in place of gasoline reduces greenhouse gas emissions by almost half while biodiesel cuts greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 74 percent. Exempting refiners of their obligations to blend biofuel would mean increased reliance on oil and more carbon emissions — a result this country cannot afford if we are to meet our new commitment under the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions by 50 — 52 percent by 2030.”

The letter was well received by those in the industry. For example, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said, “The reported handouts to oil companies looking to avoid their biofuel blending obligations would be a complete reversal of the Biden Administration’s repeated and unequivocal promises to support clean energy jobs and uphold the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard. Giving in to oil refiners’ repeated claims of economic strain would also backtrack our nation’s progress of moving toward a cleaner energy transportation future through higher biofuel blends.

“This bicameral letter from Democratic members who represent a wide constituency, reflects broad national support of cleaner fuel choices. We thank the 16 Members of the House and Senate for backing our industry and will continue pushing for Administrator Regan and Director Deese to stand with clean, homegrown biofuels.”

The letter was signed by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Representatives Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Cindy Axne (D-IA), and Angie Craig (D-MN), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Ron Kind (D-WI), David Scott (D-GA), Lauren Underwood (D-IL), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ).

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